Dominant Culture Privilege

You know, it’s very easy to sit back and judge. It’s probably the easiest thing in the world to do. Even easier to sit and judge from your own perspective, your own context, and not give time to a different perspective.

We are all guilty of this. Including me. And, regrettably, I continue to be despite my best efforts to be a better and less judgemental, more open, person.

For all of my youthful years I celebrated Australia Day on 26 January. I am, and always have been, in principle, a proud Australian. I am not always proud of my countrymen’s behaviour, choices and attitudes, but I love Australia and the potential it offers for an amazing life.

At some point though, in my celebration of Australia Day, I hit a point of realisation, as I became better educated, that that particular day was a day that marks a period of time that Australians today should not be proud of. For our first people, our Indigenous brothers and sisters, it marks a horrific turning point in their collective history.

The start of a genocide, not just of people, but of language, culture, beliefs, tribal systems and hierarchies, their entire way of life and way of knowing was attacked. Today, we still see the impact of this, and statistics validate the argument that there is a significant gap between the success rates in education of the dominant culture to the indigenous culture.

The Stolen Generations, as one example only, is not something restricted to the past. The forcible and government mandated removal of children from their biological parent is something that occurred during my lifetime. The effects of this still impact an entire generation of people.

And so, I stopped celebrating. I stopped attending barbeques, stopped listening to the hottest hundred, stopped participating in Invasion Day. At the time, most people didn’t get it. Today, more and more people are starting to express the same sentiment.

I don’t mind being different when I am standing in my truth.

In Australia, we pride ourselves on the ideal of inclusivity. I don’t believe that we are. I think we are deluding ourselves. We may once have been, but even this is highly doubtful to me. Inclusivity exists only for the dominant culture.

As a child of migrant parents, one German, in the seventies and eighties, at school, post WWII, I remember being bullied for being a “kraut” and kids would chant “Sieg Heil” at me.

What dicks.

But, as a child, I was told I was different; there was no inclusivity here. And, I only knew Australia. I was born here. This was my home. As an adult who chose blonde hair, I had other adults inform me that I could not possibly understand racism; I belonged to the dominant, blonde haired, Australian culture.

As a high school teacher with interesting ideals, pedagogy and methodology, I have always felt marginalised. I have never quite belonged because I have never embraced the status quo; it didn’t work for me. So, I found teaching not very inclusive too.

What I have learned from all of this, plus more, is that until we have walked in the shoes of another, or made serious attempts to empathise with the perspective of another, we are engaging in dominant culture privilege.

Just because the majority may think it, doesn’t make it right or true or inclusive. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t change or revise or grow. When one person does not feel included, we cannot argue that we are an inclusive democracy.

Do I even need to connect marriage equality to this argument. No question mark. Seriously, Australia, wake up. Dominant culture privilege.

And, the rights of people with disability. I know a child with Autism who is being deliberately bullied at a local Catholic high school by a mob of his peers, to the extent that he is expressing extreme anxiety and suicidal tendencies, whilst the school continues to argue that they can’t do anything about it. Dominant culture privilege.

We are so ego based that we fail to focus on what is in the collective best interests. We don’t want to ‘lose’ that which is sacred to us, but we are happy to deprive others of the same.

Time to evolve, to ascend, to be better because we know better.

2 thoughts on “Dominant Culture Privilege

  1. Boy you touched on so much, a superball of bounces. I think sadly it is human nature, the old pecking order, if you are one up peck the lower dog (yes mixed metamorphics ) Where to start. Invasion Day Australia Day. I am a dendant of some of teh 1st white invadesr or explorers as they saw themselves. I have dig and am pleased that they were some of the more enlightened for what that was worth in thosse days. I am proud of my heritage that they were bold people who sought to explore and develop what they understood as a wild country. They DID work with the Indigenous but also wer ‘boss of them ” as happened. I can fully empathise with the indigenous who had their ands stolen who were murdered plagued poisones who had their belief of ownership and sharing discounted and far worse. I see that. I feel that, Bleive me I feel what it would have been like to have your families murdered becasue you were eating off your own land be it a sheep that was provided.
    I dont know how I feel losing Australia Day but I do understand Invasion day. I get it My judgement is still out.
    I am white and middle class but privileged. I was on the wrong end of migrant classing when I lived near an immigrant centre and went to school with hostel immigrants and at the age of 7 was not allowed to a friends birthday because she lived in the tin half circle hurts at the end of the road, I think because there was tiberculosis there, (My sister has never had it but tested positive in the tatoo test.
    Those kids had the weird sandwiches, one boy spoke so fast we couldn’t understand hime, kids came and went before we got t know them. I should have learnt more then but I didnt. We moved cities.
    I did notice then and have noticed in teaching that kids tend to congegate with like , the Islander kids more together, the asian kids etc not taht they dont get along. they do but perhaps while they are still developing their own sense of self that helps.
    I know from my Dad who was a jackeroo in his early life that I wasnt taught to judge by culture or colour. He worked side by side with Aboriginal Jackeroos and had as a kid played with the camp kid because he only had 1 sister and hey.. who plays with their sister!!
    As an old guy walking to Legacy through the park he would stop and share a light or a smoke with the Aboriginals who dossed on the park at mid day despite the clucky people indoors warning hime. He knew not to worry.
    We get what we give. Treat others as your self and you will be fine.
    People are people. Thats where we get to this bloody plebicite ( what a waste of money)
    I was upset that my church sprouted the religious propaganda that it wasnt Gods way etc. Its not asking for religious marriage – not yet. Civil Rights Civil marriage Human rights. Love is love. They are all relevant. Now these stupid add bulling on about children sexuality at school. If they hadnt made it an issue it wouldnt be.
    Getting back to Tinas first statement that its easier to judge from your own perspective… thats all we can do… but it is our responsibility to gain the pespectives of others, to educate ourselves to be as inclusive and intelligent in our thought as we can be before we decide what our perspective is, before we judge. We are social beings, we share this world, this society with other. It is encumbent upon us to make the most responsible, inclusive decisions we can.
    And out.

    Liked by 1 person

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